Passages of Retirement: Personal Histories of Struggle and Success

By Richard S. Prentis | Go to book overview

20
Marriage and Retirement

A successful marriage is often a miracle and a mystery. When you consider how two people survived the mini and major crises of daily living you might wonder what was their secret. How did they confront the frustration of earning a living? How did they manage their many roles --worker, spouse, parent, citizen, and perhaps presently as parents to their parents? How have they respected and responded to the individual needs of their spouses?

Some clues to marital relationships may be gleaned from the conversations that follow on the retirement of either or both spouses. On the positive side, we witness a couple who had worked together and retired to enjoy the fruits of their labor, appreciative of their companionship; a retired couple who, after solving problems of communication, were thankful for their lot to share the simple life; and finally, a woman who retired after the retirement of her husband because she felt their relationship would suffer if she continued to work.

On the other side of marital adjustment in retirement we are exposed to unresolved conflict: a man who discussed selling his business with his wife, whose principal problem was adjusting to spending free time with her; a retired woman who struggles to maintain her research interests as opposed to ever-present family demands; and finally, a pattern of dissimilar interests of husband and wife and the resultant tensions.

The work-retirement patterns of some of the married women that follow address not only their future plans, but more important, examine the broad spectrum of marital retirement.

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